A film by Molly Manning WALKER

Cast : Mia McKenna-Bruce, Lara Peake, Shaun Thomas, Sam Bottomley, Enva Lewis, Laura Ambler

2023 / drama / Royaume-Uni / Color / status : completed / English / long feature-film / All Rights / International collections

Three British teenage girls go on a rites-of-passage holiday – drinking, clubbing and hooking up, in what should be the best summer of their lives.

In her vibrant debut feature, festivals favourite Molly Maning Walker (Good Thanks, You? – Cannes 2020 Critics Week) casts a witty, nuanced and ultimately devastating look at the intricacies of female friendship and teenage sexuality.



“Molly Manning Walker makes an exceptional directing debut with a powerful teen drama. A visceral and sensory experience. Walker’s feature debut proves she has a very distinct and confident voice. For a comparison, you might look to Lynne Ramsay’s Morvern Callar, but Walker’s film takes us into its heroine’s mind in ways that are much more subtle and emotional. A subtle but powerful deconstruction of teenage dreams and desires that explores class and culture in a human way. Although it deals with very serious issues of consent, How to Have Sex does not evolve into the kind of harrowing rape drama that this précis might suggest. Walker’s film is more of a non-judgmental behavioral study that, though it favors the female gaze, very generously looks at the situation from both sides. Key to the film’s success is its star, McKenna-Bruce, whose performance is just extraordinary.”


“An arresting, terrific debut. A sensitively-directed bittersweet story of sunshine, sand and an undertow of sadness. The combination of Manning Walker’s witty, empathetic storytelling and a star-making performance from Mckenna Bruce should make this a highly sought-after title on the festival circuit and with theatrical audiences, skewing towards a younger, female demographic but with broad arthouse appeal. Manning Walker’s skill as a writer and filmmaker is evident. A visually arresting work. Nicolas Canniccioni’s camerawork captures the fizzing teenage energy and supersaturated excess, while also working sympathetically with the young cast to tune into another wavelength. The film’s use of sound is equally evocative. The writing is sharp throughout: Manning Walker has an acute ear for teen vernacular and a sly sense of humour. But some of the film’s most powerful moments are wordless, playing out in tight shots of Mckenna Bruce’s face.”


“How to Have Sex moves gently, smoothly gliding from inconsequential moments to monumental ones. Similar to Aftersun, Charlotte Wells’ heartbreaking Cannes debut last year, How to Have Sex lives in silences and beautifully observed moments. [It has] the youthfulness of Skins and the glow of Euphoria. McKenna Bruce delivers a powerful portrayal of a young woman grappling with the reality of her assault, dialing back Tara’s energy so that we can feel the character withdraw the more she remembers. The energetic party princess shrinks, turning into a reserved and nervous observer. Manning Walker does a fine job building a sense of dread and shifting tone without losing the story’s momentum. There’s a haunting element to the latter half of How to Have Sex, which intelligently captures the difficulty of processing sexual assault, of navigating consent, of even starting a conversation.”

The Hollywood Reporter

“Full-on energy, likable performances and uncompromisingly daft jokes turbocharge this strong debut feature. An intriguingly sympathetic, complex and even mysterious performance from Mia McKenna-Bruce. An interestingly unsentimental film, without the coming-of-age cliches, and one from which the three leads emerge stronger and happier than before.”

★★★★ The Guardian

“A Cannes Breakout. Molly Manning Walker makes waves with her debut film, featuring a stunning performance from Mia McKenna-Bruce. A more than promising debut feature, How to Have Sex is a vivid and heartbreaking depiction of what is caused by the willful, dehumanizing disregard of women. An observant social study, deftly mapping little riffs in its core friendship—slights and envies, mostly—and keeping each character away from the trap of easy trope. McKenna-Bruce would have [the] best actress vote; it’s a stunning performance, subtle and complicated.”

Vanity Fair

“It’s a startling feature debut, like the rougher, tougher, flipside of Aftersun. Don’t let the title trick you. There’s nothing cheeky, sleazy or exploitative about this teen holiday drama set among the sunburnt and booze-addled British revellers that frequent the Greek hotspot of Malia in Crete. And though the milieu will be instantly familiar from the laddish comedy The Inbetweeners Movie, the perspective, tone and insights couldn’t be more different. The performances are top-tier and bristle with easygoing realism. The dialogue is a hoot. McKenna-Bruce is the standout turn. It’s immense work.”

The Times

“An evocative feature debut. It’s a familiar story, but one told with a keen eye for details. Evokes Lynne Ramsay’s Morvern Callar. McKenna-Bruce is a charming lead, easily turning her hand to Taz’s boisterous exterior and internalised moments of self-doubt. This is an assured leap to feature filmmaking for Manning Walker with a strong visual identity and sense of place – yet also one that sharply depicts the grey areas in gender and sexual politics that one is forced to confront as a teenager, particularly as a teenage girl.”

Little White Lies


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